Tall, Dark and Damaged by Sarah Andre

Gott im Himmel! I felt like this book was one continual rolling ball of anxiety. You never really got a chance to breathe until the last page. And even then you think back on everything that just happened, and you feel an overwhelming need for a glass of wine and a bubble bath.

What’s it About?


His Life Changed in a Heartbeat
Disinherited as a teen, Devon Ashby returns home twelve years later as a ruthless CEO, brilliant at negotiating deals, but emotionally stunted. In an instant all he’s struggled to build implodes. Amid the turmoil of saving his company from a hostile takeover, his engagement to a business partner’s high-society daughter hits the rocks. Compounding his troubles, he encounters his high school sweetheart, whose heart he smashed. The vulnerability she awakens leaves him at greater risk than all the crises he faces.

Her Dream Job May Get Her Killed
While restoring art in a billionaire’s private gallery, Hannah Moore is unwittingly drawn into the dysfunctional family’s confidences. When she discovers the rich developer behind her and her sick aunt’s eviction is the family’s black-sheep son—the lover she’s never gotten over—her desire turns to fury. Always one to avoid conflict, Hannah must stand up to Devon and the growing menace of someone who thinks she knows too much.

A Decades-Old Secret Turns Deadly
When a family member is murdered, Devon and Hannah become ensnared in sibling greed, festering jealousy, and a tragic secret that’s divided the family. Amid their reigniting passion they race to expose the killer before they become the next victims in this cat-and-mouse game of survival.

First Impressions

In a word, this book was intense. There’s a ton of intrigue, from start to finish, and a whole hell of a lot happening in between. Devon is on the verge of losing his business to his father via hostile takeover, he’s about to get married, and he just ran into his high school sweetheart. Oh, and then there’s the matter of his mother’s apparent suicide years beforehand which he assumes was murder, not to mention a new murder which takes place on his family’s estate, and he just happens to be a suspect. And that’s just what’s going on with Devon! I haven’t even gotten around to all the drama that’s happening with Hannah!


Squirming Ball of Nerves

Now, I know this is going to sound really really weird, but sometimes books like this almost make me too anxious and fidgety. Something about the fact that everything which could possibly go wrong does go wrong makes it seem like the entire world is crashing down on our characters. That being said, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a weirdo. Although this kind of plot turns me into a squirming ball of nerves, I realize that most normal people out there like when a book is jam packed full of this many twists and turns.


It Comes Together Nicely!

Although the build-up pretty much had me rocking back and forth in the fetal position, the ending was fantasmically awesome! It really plays out like a movie, with every scene described in such vivid detail that you could really picture everything playing out with absolute clarity. Another unique feather of this ending is that although it ends happily, it in no way ends perfectly.


Stuff goes down! Not every character meets a happy end, and not every plot twist is wrapped up in a nice, neat little bow. Normally, I’m not a huge fan when this happens, but in this case I think it actually worked! The aspects which aren’t resolved tie into the overall moral of the story of identifying what truly matters in life. If it’s not important, there’s no need to focus so much attention on resolving it now. Focus on what really counts instead.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Dramatic stand-alone to bring to the beach.

Should you read it? This one will certainly keep you on your toes, and bouncing in your chair until the very end. Even I was surprised by how it ended! Usually I can guess our “who done it” pretty early on, but this one threw me for a loop. At times, I felt it was a tad too heavy on the business side of the plot dealing with stakeholders, shareholders, SEC stuff, trusts, and other jargon I’m not going to pretend to understand.

Smut Level: There is only one sex scene in this book, and you definitely have to wait around for it, but good God is it a good one! It’s got everything I love: a thunderstorm, a library, and some delightful dirty talk. Yummmmmy.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Beach Reads Publishing. 297 Pages.



The Snowboat by Capella Van Ryan

The female protagonist in this novel claims that a woman such as myself will never be seen as desirable by men, and if I should ever have the misfortune to marry I’ll ultimately get divorced. There are two main reasons for this: 1) I’m tall, and 2) I’m American. Well okay then.

What’s it About? 


Nicolette wasn’t always every man’s dream but she knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it. By being in the background, observing what made a woman desirable to all men, Nicolette mastered her appearance and her mannerisms to perfection to the point she became the centre of attention wherever she went.

When a wealthy businessman proposes after days of meeting Nicolette, she is shocked and unsure of what the future holds as they barely know one another. The idea of being more important than money and a man’s work, happy and in love consumes her and she hopes love will blossom. Unfortunately, married life is never easy, and in this case becomes worse than anything ever imagined.

First Impressions

I found it very hard to actually read this book through to the end. Not only was the story line slow, but I found the main character to be very unlikable and selfish. And not just because she said I was undesirable. Nicolette blatantly states that she is perfect, and this is why others don’t like her and treat her poorly. She also claims that she has a sixth sense when it comes to people, and can see the true nature of people through their eyes. I’m sorry, but the fact that she managed to marry not one, but 2 abusive a-holes who she later killed shows that her sixth sense isn’t worth much.



A Contradiction in Terms

So Nicolette is a pretty terrible human being. I mean, she says that Chinese, Russian and Ukrainian women are all whores for selling themselves to be with Western men. Ummm…it’s called human trafficking, and I have a feeling it isn’t exactly their ideal career choice. Direct quote: “This is when mail order brides who debase themselves by being more than willing to be bought and paid for to some weirdo of a guy they have never met. This is when one can pay thanks to the Russian Ukrainian and the Chinese women, rendering men to think little of all womenkind because of these few whores.” Aside from her awful opinions though, she also makes a lot of contradictory statements that drove me slightly crazy.


Firstly, she maintains that her first husband will always remain the love of her life, and that whenever she should happen to die they will meet again in Heaven. However, she killed her first husband because he physically abused her. Not exactly husband of the year. Secondly, after marrying for the second time she says that the first three months of this marriage were heavenly, even though her husband repeatedly rapes her and threatens to kill her during that time.


An Apostle of What? 

So after sexually abusing and raping her for years, with the help of both his mother and gardener, Nicolette finally decides to kill them all after overhearing their plot to end her life. Believe it or not, she’s actually successful in ending all of their lives. She then discovers that her husband was involved in a human trafficking operation, and uncovers detailed notes on all of his contacts from the providers of the women to the clients who bought them.


Rather than doing something with all of this evidence, she decides to keep it hidden. You see, Nicolette seems to be oblivious to this little thing called killing in self defense, and instead is under the impression that all of this contact info would be beneficial were she ever to be arrested for murdering her husband. The fact that she managed to stop one shipment of women from falling into the hands of her husband makes her see herself as an “apostle” to these women.

What in the actual f*ck is she smoking? She could have saved countless women and put an end to the entire operation, but instead she chose to be selfish and do absolutely nothing. Does she really think that because one shipment of women wasn’t sent to her husband that their keepers are going to let them go? No! They’ll just be sold off to somebody else.

*UPDATE: The author has mentioned that in future books Nicolette undergoes a bit of a transformation, and actually goes on to save some of these women. Happy to hear it!*


*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: First of 10+

Should you read it? I can understand reading about a flawed character. After all, we are all flawed. Nobody’s perfect, in spite of what Nicolette claims. But I find it hard to read about a character with absolutely no redeeming qualities.

Smut Level: Too nasty for my tastes. At one point Nicolette’s husband rapes her with his foot. Direct quote: “Nicolas demands I sit on his foot. Yes the idea which popped into my head as to what he wanted me to do with it came to pass, he fucked me with it.”

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.67 Kindle Price. Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd. 519 Pages.

Southwest of Love and Murder by Brenda Whiteside

I really need to stop reading these suspenseful murder mysteries while I’m all alone and simultaneously watching Forensic Files. And Dateline. And an OJ Simpson murder special on A&E. Will I never learn?!

What’s it About? 


Mystery writer Phoebe Anderson owes her success to killing her first husband on paper seventeen years earlier. Now someone has actually done it. When she decides to take a few days away on the ranch of her best friend’s brother-in-law, she doesn’t expect romance to find her…or murder to follow her.

Mason Meadowlark is happy with his wild cowboy ways, avoiding love since the death of his baby and the end of his marriage twenty years ago. When Phoebe shows up, he fights to control his emotions but soon wonders if she just might be worth the risk of opening his heart again. With an obsessed fan close on her heels, Phoebe is thrown into her own murder mystery…and the next target on his list is Mason.

First Impressions

Phoebe had a wild one-night stand with Mason a few months back, and after her ex-husband is murdered she decides to take a trip to Mason’s ranch to do some “research” for her next book. Yeah right! Call it whatever you want missy, we all know you had every intention to ride that cowboy one more time. And good on ya! As for the actual murder mystery taking place in the novel, I was shocked that we as the readers learn right away who the killer is, while the rest of the characters remain in the dark. I thought this would lessen the overall suspense, but boy I was wrong!


A Killer’s Point of View

The entire book alternates between various characters’ points of view, one of which being the killer’s, who is intent on getting Phoebe’s attention so they can work on a future book together. This guy takes “crazy fan” to a whole new level with his wacked sense of reality.

The fact that we are privy to the killer’s inner thoughts, not to mention his future plans for murder, was an amazing way to increase the intensity of the book. There is one scene in particular where the killer goes after a close family friend of Mason’s, and everything is played out so slowly that you’ll be on the edge of your seat wondering if he’ll actually succeed. I kept wanting to scream out “Behind you!” You can see it happening, but you can’t do anything to stop it!


Another Cliché

This book has several murder mystery clichés throughout, which Phoebe almost mocks because she is now seeing them in real life as opposed to writing them in one of her novels. And yet, I was disappointed that she still manages to fulfill every single cliché rather than avoid them! For example, never ever agree to meet a murderer/kidnapper/psycho without police back-up! I thought the fact she was a mystery writer would mean she would catch on a bit quicker to the killer’s plans, but she was pretty slow to put things together. Probably the one feature of the book I would have liked to change.


*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: The Love and Murder Series, book 2. I never read book 1, and had no problems following along.

Should you read it? If you’re looking for a book with a little intrigue, then hell yes!  Plus, who doesn’t like a little romance mixed in as well?

Smut Level: There is some really hot foreplay, but the sex act itself was usually glossed over.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 302 Pages.

The Long Weekend by Terry R. Barca

the long weekendI have read many a book, and I have seen many a metaphor for sex. Doing the dirty. Hiding the sausage. And then there are the ever famous (and my personal favorite) dancing connotations, including the horizontal mambo and/or tango. But this book introduced me to a new one, which just might become my new favorite go-to expression: horizontal folk dancing! I just…I can’t…I don’t even know what to say. I mean, I understand the comparison with the mambo, or the tango. They are sensual and passionate dances which exude sexuality. But folk dancing? Love it.

Sam is a recently retired private detective who has decided to take a long weekend vacation with his wife, Scarlett (aka his folk dancing partner), when a brutal murder takes place near their hotel. The detective on the case knows that the couple is staying nearby, and decides to pop-in and ask a very reluctant Sam for some assistance. Now, I was told before reading this book that it might not exactly be my cup of tea, which to be honest it kind of wasn’t, but when an author is kind of enough to provide me with a copy of their book I feel that the least I can do is read it.

The summary provided on Goodreads talks about how this short novella is more about the characters than exactly “whodunit”, which I thought was a rather strange approach for a mystery novel. I mean, when a murder takes place in a book my first response is to ask who did it. Even though I did enjoy getting to know each character, there were so many flashbacks and anecdotes that it was sort of difficult to keep the timeline of events straight. We learned how Sam and Scarlett first met, why Sam became a detective in the first place, the one and only case Sam ever failed to solve, etc. That’s all well and good, but then there were some tangents thrown in that I couldn’t really see how they related to the unfolding mystery. For example, Sam determines the worth of a bartender based on whether or not he is familiar with an obscure drink from a 1940s movie. I guess we can label that under learning about a quirk of his? Again, there’s nothing wrong with adding in those little details, but they were often discussed in so much detail that it could really drag on and on.

It’s hard to pick just one favorite character in this book, mainly because I really loved Scarlett and Detective Inspector Blank. Scarlett was just so enthusiastic about trying to solve the murder, and couldn’t wait to get to the morgue to look at the body. Can you think of a better way to pass the time on a long weekend? And then there’s the detective who is just so strange I couldn’t help but love him. In the first scene where Detective Blank and Sam discuss the case, Blank is trying to practice different facial expressions to show surprise, hesitancy, consideration, etc. I love me some awkward social interactions.

The entire book was definitely a build up to the big reveal at the end, but I felt it was kind of a lackluster reveal. I thought there was going to be some kind of big Sherlock Holmes reveal by Sam as to who the killer was and why he killed his victim. Instead, when Sam confesses to Scarlett that he knows who committed the crime, he unveils the likelihood of it being a certain kind of person, particularly someone high up in the government who would probably hire someone else to actually commit the murder. I would say that’s more of a profile clue than actually solving anything. It isn’t until the epilogue that we discover who orchestrated the murder, and it was mainly because of Blank’s detective work that the killer was apprehended. Sam just sort of game him some ideas of where to start looking. If anything, this book should be referenced as, “A Sam and Scarlett Mystery…Ultimately Solved by Detective Blank”.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: A Sam and Scarlett Mystery, book 1

Get it on Amazon: Click Here

Should you read it? If you’re looking for a short little mystery novel to read over the weekend, then sure. Also, the book takes place in Melbourne, and provides a fun insider’s look at the city, so if you’ve ever been to Melbourne you might get a kick out of the details.

Smut Level: HORIZONTAL FOLK DANCING!! Nothing else need be said. folk dance